Senator handicaps White House campaign |

Senator handicaps White House campaign

Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama versus one of three Republicans is how Bob Bennett sees the 2008 presidential campaign.

The Republican senator did not make a bold prediction about the contest for the White House during remarks at The Canyons on Saturday, agreeing with pundits and pollsters that one of the big-name politicians challenging for their party nominations will win the nods.

Bennett says John McCain, Rudy Giuliani or Mitt Romney will emerge as the GOP’s candidate next year.

His comments about the campaign were not especially intriguing, given his position as a longtime Washington insider. He said he figures the former first lady will win the Democratic nomination and said Romney’s candidacy is worrying the other two Republicans.

"It’s very interesting how nervous they’re getting," Bennett said about McCain and Giuliani, adding that McCain’s camp is more worried about Romney, a Deer Valley homeowner.

early February 2008, Bennett predicted, the nominees will have been selected. Within six months, the major candidates must be raising tens of millions of dollars and by early 2008, when the primaries and caucuses start, they should have between $75 million and $100 million in the campaign accounts, he said.

His comments about Campaign 2008 started what was a 90-minute talk to about 100 developers, mortgage bankers and Wall Street executives holding a conference at The Canyons.

In his speech, Bennett covered numerous topics and delved extensively into the predicted population trends, how they are expected to change worldwide demographics and the possible effects on the federal government, including the aging of Americans.

He talked about immigration, saying it is one of the nation’s most difficult political issues and declaring that America’s borders must be secure. However, he acknowledged U.S. businesses rely on immigrant labor.

"Secure our borders. That doesn’t mean close our borders," Bennett said, describing a guest-worker program in which foreigners could labor in the U.S. seasonally.

He talked about foreign workers arriving, perhaps, for the ski season, the harvest and the construction season. Such programs, he says, help the U.S. secure the borders.

People who are living in the U.S. illegally, Bennett said, should be allowed to pay a fine and obtain the proper permits to stay permanently.

Bennett spoke briefly about the War on Terrorism, saying the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks did not thrust America into war. Instead, the Islamic fundamentalists had been waging war against the U.S. for years, including the bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon and the attack on the USS Cole.

"Sept. 11, 2001 was not the beginning of that war," Bennett said, adding terrorists want to drive America out of the Middle East. "They are in this for the long haul. They are determined. This is their battle plan."

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